EPA secures $165M agreement with Occidental Chemical for Passaic River work
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a legal agreement with Occidental Chemical Corporation, one of more than 100 parties identified as potentially responsible for contamination of the lower Passaic River, to perform engineering and design work needed to begin the cleanup of the lower 8.3 miles of the lower Passaic River. This work, which includes sampling, evaluating technologies, and doing the engineering work necessary before physical cleanup work can begin, will be done under EPA oversight. Occidental Chemical Corporation will also pay for the EPA's oversight costs. The EPA will pursue additional agreements with all of the more than 100 parties legally responsible for the contamination to ensure that the cleanup work in the lower 8.3 miles will be carried out and paid for by those responsible for the pollution as required by the Superfund law. "This agreement is a milestone in getting the Passaic River cleaned up. It is an example of how Superfund is designed to work - those responsible for the contamination pay for the work, rather than taxpayers," said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. "Occidental has agreed to spend $165M to do this work and in doing so is moving us a lot closer to a restored Passaic River. The EPA will work to secure similar agreements with the other parties that polluted the Passaic River and have the legal responsibility to pay for the cleanup." Under the legal settlement, Occidental Chemical Corporation will: Develop an overall project management plan to get all work needed prior to and during the cleanup done on a prescribed schedule; Submit to EPA a design plan that includes work plans and technical approaches for implementing all design activities; Submit field sampling and quality assurance plans for EPA approval, including a plan to collect and analyze sediment samples for the purposes of designing the dredging plan and the engineered cap; Develop a plan for dredged material disposal; Submit a site-wide plan to monitor water and air quality throughout the life of the cleanup project; Identify and select a site or sites for the sediment processing facility, with public input; Perform studies to evaluate enhanced capping technologies.